Timelapse Project

The Time magazine TIMELAPSE project visualises several areas of change: from the growth of Dubai to glacial retreat.
Excellent stuff...

GeogSpace now open

The new Australian Curriculum document for Geography was launched in the last few weeks.

The support site for the introduction of the new curriculum has now gone live too.

It's called GEOG SPACE.

There's quite an influence from some familiar UK names here, such as this diagram on the 'Child as Geographer' from the work of Simon Catling.

© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute
and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain
all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

There are also influences in the SUPPORT UNITS from a range of UK geographers including Fran Martin, Paula Owens, Stephen Scoffham and Liz Taylor.

The SUPPORT UNIT section, in fact, would make excellent reading for geographers around the globe. It's a really useful synthesis of key thinking around concepts, fieldwork, geographical enquiry, ICT and related areas of geographical thinking.
There are extracts from the GA Secondary Handbook, and useful links to other websites.

Delve into the CORE UNITS, and you will find a range of materials for teachers to use straight away and get the curriculum underway...
Here's an activity sheet for a unit on MUSIC FESTIVALS for example (PDF download) which provides a good starter, although I think the Woolvens did a better job here :)

I also liked the unit on E-Waste, and ideas for units about place and coastal management.

For example, here's the New South Wales About Fieldwork website, which was a new one for me.

Well worth spending some time looking through these sites, particularly for new teachers of geography.

And visit the site of AGTA, who were involved in creating these new resources. Plenty of additional ideas and resources on this site too.

So I wonder where the equivalent website is for UK teachers ?
We are getting one, right ??

2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season about to start...

The Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts on the 1st of June.
This would be a useful context for exploring the impact of atmospheric hazards by keeping a section of display free to explore the season as it develops. Put a map up and plot the storms as they develop. Also check out the Hurricane ideas in Bob Lang's 'GIS made Easy' book.
It is predicted by NOAA to be an active season.

We are currently in Hurricane Preparedness Week in the USA.
This helps people get ready for the season that is about to start.
In some areas it already has... As I post this, Hurricane Barbara is lashing Mexico's Pacific coast.

We also have the list of names that is going to be used this year.
Remember that when there is a particularly devastating hurricane, a name will be 'retired', and not used again. The name SANDY was recently retired.

A nice 'fun' and completely 'pointless' homework would be to give a reward to anyone who can bring in a special personalised Coke bottle which has the name of one of the hurricanes from the 2013 season on it... It may involve foreign travel - when I was in Belgium recently I noticed Sebastien, but you might not find one in your local corner shop in Wakefield... but then again...

Send my Friend to School

Schoolchildren across the UK are invited to take part in this year's Send My Friend to School campaign to put pressure on world leaders to close the global teacher gap.
United Nations estimates reveal a global shortage of 1.7 million teachers, with one million professional teachers needed in Africa alone.
As part of the Millennium Development Goals world leaders made a pledge that every child would receive a quality primary education by 2015, but there are still over 60 million children missing out on a basic primary education, with millions more struggling to learn in crowded classes with unqualified teachers.
In Ethiopia, Honduras and Sierra Leone less than half of all teachers have received any training, and Nigeria needs 25% more teachers.
The 2013 Send My Friend to School campaign, organised by the Global Campaign for Education UK involving child rights activists, teachers’ unions and development organisations from around the world, is urging teachers and pupils to get creative and remind world leaders that every child needs a teacher with the help of a resource pack.
A free resource pack for key stage 1-3, includes a campaign DVD, teachers guide, case studies, fact sheets, posters, teacher cut-out templates and stickers, for pupils to create their ‘ideal teacher’ figures to give to MPs to present on their behalf to the Prime Minister.
Nicola Cadbury, from Global Campaign for Education UK, said: “Every year Send My Friend to School brings together thousands of UK school children all speaking up for the right to education across the world.
“We are always moved by the creativity and passion we see from UK pupils and urge everyone to keep working towards this important goal.
“There are just two years to go now to meet the Education For All (Millennium Development Goals) target. If we are to get 60 million more children into schools with decent-sized classes, they must be taught by adequately paid, well trained and motivated teachers.”
Thanks to Karen for getting in touch and sending me more details...

New Google Earth and Google Maps course... by Google...

I've just enrolled to take part in a new free course that is being offered by Google.
Introduction to mapping with Google.

You can participate in courses for both Google Maps and Google Earth.
Go here for more information and to register.

More details on this YouTube video, introduced by Tina Ornduff, who I met at the Dublin Google event last year.

Once you've registered, you'll find out more about the course, which starts on June the 10th....

Why not join me ?

North Hampshire Geography Network meeting - a future date for your diaries...

Do you live within a reasonable distance of Fleet in Hampshire  ?
Chantal Mayo is organising a geography panel / network meeting for CPD and support at the Calthorpe School, Fleet, Hampshire.

Put it in your diary now, for the 24th of June.
The session starts at 2.30pm.

You can follow Chantal on Twitter @CMOGeography and get further details if required.

Half term...

Just back from seeing this with my son.
Quite enjoyable...
Interesting modern urban development in London and San Francisco...
Now back to work...

Progression in Geography...

At the start of July I'm going to be in Newquay in Cornwall, working with colleagues in the South West for the first time.
I've been asked to lead a morning on the broad theme of Progression in Geography. 
This will include sessions on national developments, raising standards (some ideas), good practice in leadership and management of teaching and learning. My input will finish with some ideas for the use of new technologies, which is where I'll be on safer ground.
One issue with leadership and other aspects is the extent to which it is affected by the personality of the leader, but also the make-up of the whole departmental team. I've been fortunate to work with some great colleagues in my time, but recognise that it can be hard if you're working with uncooperative colleagues.
Here's the flyer for the event... looks good :)

If you're in the area, you're very welcome to join us. Further information can be obtained from Jo Bardell on 01872 322931. The event is free for SLA subscribers, and costs £175 for non SLA subscribers.

I may well be tweeting some questions over the next few weeks (I'll wait until the term restarts to ask them....) to prepare some provocations and elements of tasks for colleagues to engage with...

If anyone reading this has a particularly good reference / website / resource on progression and raising standards in geography, which is a bit of a 'thorny' and contested issue, I'd love to hear from you...

Going to the Pole of Cold

When the RGS-IBG announced their 'Going Beyond' bursary, in association with Land Rover for the first time, Dan Ellison and I got involved by putting together a bid to turn the vehicle into a spaceship and head off exploring the UK. We had a load of geographers ready to join us, but in the end, the £30000 and Land Rover loan went to the Latitude team, who followed the 50 degree line of latitude...
Since 2008, there have been winners each year. I did an event in Brighton with members of one of the winning teams: the 'Atlantic Rising' crew.

See some previous winners here:

As I write this, Dan is in Northern Ireland on the latest of a series of #route125 adventures, and the latest winners of the bursary have been announced.

From the RGS Press Release...

Felicity Aston, Gisli Jonsson and Manu Palomeque

'The Pole of Cold' is a journey to chase the onset of winter across Europe and Siberia as far as the Pole of Cold, the coldest place in the northern hemisphere. The expedition will focus on winter as a geographical concept by exploring the social, cultural and physical implications of the season on the communities the team meet. While enduring testing cold-weather conditions, the team will combine adventure, geography and art to share stories of day-to-day life in extreme climates in order that others might draw inspiration from them to look again at winter and their own lifestyles during the coldest months.

Winning details here (PDF download)

Keep climate change on the curriculum...

Interesting Guardian article (which I'd missed the first time round) relating to a letter sent to Michael Gove by the Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

Interesting mention of the RGS-IBG in there, and their apparent 'views' on climate change in the curriculum.


For a slightly more nuanced outline of the RGS' view on the climate change debate, you will also find the following links useful.
First of all. there's the RGS's view on the proposed national curriculum change on their Policy page
Followed by a letter from Rita Gardner to 'The Guardian' on the way that the RGS's views were expressed in the letter (PDF download)

Mission:Explore in the Geographical Journal

Thanks to Joe Smith of the OU, for the mention of Mission:Explore in a review essay in the latest Geographical Journal.

Thanks also to Chantal Mayo for letting me know how much her students enjoyed using Mission:Explore activities while on their recent fieldtrip in S. Wales.
Good to see the GA's resource page gets a mention too... I was involved in creating quite a lot of that too...

ESRI Tornado Disaster maps

A range of maps from the ESRI ArcGIS Group. They have been quick off the mark to show the potential for ArcGIS Online to report on contemporary events, and also start to tell their stories. Google have similar CRISIS MAPS after major events also.

The Moore Tornado Maps also show the use of the various Story Map templates which are possible to use.

Update 4th June
New map from the Spatial Key blog


This image has been circulating around over the last few days.
It's the super-continent of Pangaea, but with the modern day political boundaries.
I think it was @MrGeographer who gave me the first tipoff...
Not sure of the source - if you know, please tell me, and if there's a problem with me blogging it I'll remove it.
Click to enlarge

That's grand...

For the last 8 days now, I've had over 1000 visitors to the blog - the best run ever I think, and with over 1600 visitors yesterday alone. You're all very welcome. Don't be shy about adding a comment to a post that catches your eye...  Remember that unlike most blogs, even *ahem* award-winning ones, this is updated almost every day with new creative content.

Bruges - Day 4 & 5

Once the EuroGeo conference was over, there was still business to be done.
There was a full day meeting of the I-USE project, which I am currently involved in on behalf of the GA.
This is a project which aims to explore ideas related to statistical literacy. See the recent post on our conference session to read more...

The project's website is here.
The blog that I am curating is HERE
The Twitter feed for the project is HERE - sign up to follow the project as it develops...

Teachmeet East 3

Teaching in the East of England ?
Get yourself over to Norwich on the 22nd of June for TEACHMEET EAST 2013

Great work by Tim Handley once again...

Bluebell Primary School
Lovelace Road
(Near UEA)
NR4 7DS Norwich
United Kingdom

Sign up HERE

There are several stages to the event.
Two hours of hands on activities. I was asked to come and do a Mission:Explore activity as part of this stage, but couldn't make it as already 'taken' that day.
Then there's the TEACHMEET from 2 - 5.45....

Sadly I can't make that weekend, otherwise I would be there....
Get your ticket soon...
And say hello to my good friend Andy Knill who WILL be there...

Interesting overfishing graphic

From the Guardian's DATABLOG.
Nice animated infographic on the decline in the world's fish stocks.

40 years ago today....

40 years ago today, an LP was released which 'broke the rules'...
Tubular Bells was the work of teenage Mike Oldfield. He was backed by Richard Branson, who decided to create a record company called 'Virgin Records' so that he could release the album. Mike played all the instruments, and multi-tracked them. He created a continuous piece of music, rather than a lot of singles.

I first heard Tubular Bells when I was aged 10 or 11. My uncle Steven had a copy, and played it all the time when I went round to my nana's house. I loved it so much that I bought my own copy.

I have probably played this album well over a thousand times in my life. I have seen it performed live several times, and was also present at the world premiere of the 3rd version of the album - getting very wet on Horse Guards Parade.
Oldfield has also recorded other albums which together have formed the soundtrack to my life for the past 40 years.

Ommadawn is my 'train journey' album - 'Hergest Ridge' is my 'relaxation' album, and 'Crises' reminds me of my visit to Norway, and listening to 'The Lake' by the most wonderful glacial lake on a balmy evening...

Current reading

I'm currently reading a review copy of a new book by Charles Rawding, which is out in May published by Routledge.

The publishers' description of the book is below:

How up-to-date is your geographical thought? Are parts of your curriculum becoming tired and out-dated?

Effective Innovation in the Secondary Geography Curriculum will help training and practising secondary school teachers understand how to evaluate and refresh their curriculum in order to ensure that what they teach is relevant, topical and creative.
Considering the latest developments in both the school geography curriculum and the field of geography as an academic discipline, this exciting new book explores how geography teaching and learning can be developed to engage secondary school pupils and better reflect contemporary society. Illustrated throughout with ideas and practical examples of how to update your curriculum easily and effectively, key topics covered include:
  • Understanding curriculum theory and development;
  • Auditing and developing your own dynamic, interactive curriculum;
  • Critiquing textbooks and resources to ensure relevance;
  • Constructing and analysing schemes of work;
  • Incorporating the latest developments in the field into your teaching;
  • How to create innovative, enduring curricula for human, physical and environmental geographies.
Once I've finished it, a review will appear here, and in several other places too....

Thought for the Day

“I’ve given up on teaching. I don’t care a damn about teaching any more...[you go] into a classroom and see some crusty bugger who sits in the corner and has been teaching this way for years, and it’s not the dominant style, but they have incredibly positive impacts on kids. Why would you change them? Our debates are too concentrated on how we teach, whereas all the visible learning work tells me it needs to be about the impact of how we teach. Observe the impact....It is a sin for a teacher to observe another teaching in the act. All they do is tell them (nicely and subtly) that they should teach more like them. The only reason for observing is to observe learning”

John Hattie


You may have seen on my earlier post on GeoGuessr the mention for LOCATESTREET 

This is a variation on GeoGuessr, with various points being offered for guidance, although the Elevation option doesn't offer that much help...

You can choose to play on a Global basis, or other scales.

You are presented with 4 options of location to choose from, and if you pick the correct option you can earn bonus points for clicking on the actual location on a map...
The site takes you to some fairly out of the way places... I seemed to end up on rural roads, and in cul-de-sacs on industrial estates quite often.

Hardcore players should choose the GLOBAL option... and discover that South America looks a lot like Australia in places...
Choose the COUNTRY option, and explore a range of countries from a list, which includes the UK. This offers potential for a CITY based search for example.
There are also some US based Thematic search options.

The game is addictive. Had to stop myself playing on it last night....
If you get one of the highest scores so far you can enter your e-mail to be added to the High Score table. May be an incentive for some to use additional 'support' to search for business names etc., but that wouldn't be in the spirit of the game...

Also, while playing, I've come across a few random sights.
This looks like some sort of hawk diving into a field to catch something ?

And what is this bloke doing standing in the road ?

The game was developed by Nick Burkhart of Chelonia Labs in California.

As with GeoGuessr, there are various clues that you can look for to help with locating yourself in fairly random housing estates.

Telephone dialling codes tend not to be blurred out. 020 will tell you that you're in London.
If on a main road, head for junctions where there'll be road signs.
Look at the vernacular building materials - some places have distinctive stone or house designs.
Become familiar with the basic geography of London, which features heavily in the UK option.

Be aware though, that they can be misleading. I spotted a Yorkshire registration on a motorbike, which ended up being up in the far north of Scotland, flipping tourists...

Curriculum update from the DfE

The proposals for a new National Curriculum for geography

Following the Government’s publication of ‘The Importance of Teaching’ Schools White Paper (2010) which stated that the national curriculum should set out ‘the essential knowledge that all children should be expected to learn’, a review of the national curriculum in England commenced in January 2011. Over the summer of 2012 the Department worked closely with key geography subjects associations – The Royal Geographical Society- with the Institute of British Geographers , The Geographical Association, and the Geological Society – and other eminent geographers, to define the essential subject content that should be taught to pupils from age 5 to 14 years in maintained schools. 
It is intended that the new curriculum will provide a benchmark for all schools including those that are not required by law to teach the national curriculum.
In 2012, Ofsted reported that in a significant number of schools, pupils’ core geographical knowledge was weak and that pupils often had a poor understanding of the world they live in. In response to this evidence, the new geography programmes of study specify more precisely than in the past the fundamental concepts that should underpin the teaching of geography in schools. 
The programmes of study form the minimal basis of pupil’s learning and it is for teachers to use the freedom they will have over the wider school curriculum to build on this essential knowledge and develop a curriculum which meets the needs of all their pupils.
The new proposals suggest that geography should ‘inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world’ and provide "a deep understanding of key physical and human processes". In essence, the new curriculum has rebalanced the content of geography by giving human and physical processes (including earth science) equal mention alongside a requirement for pupils to have better locational knowledge and competence in applying core geographical skills such as fieldwork and mapping. 
These components form the DNA of geography, and it is for teachers as the ‘curriculum makers’ to decide how best to teach the content with support from key subject associations such as the Royal Geographical Society - with Institute of British Geographers and the Geographical Association.

Deborah Jones
National Curriculum Review Division
Department of Education


Also well worth reading Emma Rawlings Smith's essay on Curriculum Change which she wrote as part of her MA studies - "Why curriculum change is necessary".

Hopton - missing sands

Image from the book 'Boring Postcards', as featured in the GeoLibrary.

Hopton is a resort near Lowestoft.

Over the winter, the fearsome and relentless Easterly winds which we had on the east coast have scoured and stripped away the sand from some beaches in the area.
However, some people suggest that there is another reason for the disappearing sands.

This could become a new alternative to the classic Mappleton case study, and the tale of Sue Earle...

I'm heading over there in the next few weeks to see what the impact of the weather has been
It's a reminder that the coast is an area that undergoes constant change: from the small changes with every tide, to the longer term changes, and the impact of humans.

Save Hopton Beach - has a Twitter feed, where they tweet a range of information relating to the fight to save the beach.

Download the document (PDF) from the Save Hopton Beach website.

Walk to School Week - Digimap for Schools idea...

It's Walk to School week. My kids always walk to school because we're fortunate enough to live very close to their schools.
Some people drive their children to school even though they live a short distance away. They may have very good reasons for doing that of course.... or they may not...
Fewer children are walking to school than used to, for a number of reasons. And some of them aren't pleased when they are challenged.
I used to walk to school, back in the day. Here's a map of my route to school, back in the 1970s and 80s...
Purple goes to my Primary
Red goes to my Secondary

Paula Owens has made a resource to investigate the route to school for Digimap for Schools.
Click here to download as a PDF
It's part of a suite of resources.
Paula created the Primary resources and I wrote the Secondary ones.

Map made with Digimap for Schools service
Image copyright:

Ordnance Survey © Crown Copyright and Database Right 2013. An Ordnance Survey/EDINA supplied service. 

Oklahoma City Tornado

Still perhaps a little raw to be teaching about this in detail, but some amazing images and stories coming out of the area affected by this huge storm. Thankfully, the original estimated casualty figures have been reduced....
The fact that at least one school was affected by the storm adds to the tragedy...

An authoritative BBC PAGE here has a range of resources, and currently a live feed of the news from the area....


Also an astonishing set of before and after images of the suburb of Moore HERE via the Guardian.

Just exploring some GIS data for Tornadoes from the US Weather service / NOAA

There's also this HISTRO timeline.... showing '10 deadliest tornadoes'...

New series of 'Town' starts tonight...

BBC2 - 9pm
I'm especially looking forward to the one on Huddersfield, where I lived for three years while doing my geography degree - back in the 80s....

A global support network

Thanks to Jon Wolton for the reminder of TWEEPSMAP.
Since the last time I used this, my network of followers on Twitter has grown to over 2300 real people..
Here's my map and global network....

There are followers from all continents, which is good to see.
Around 40% of my followers are from outside the UK, which is also interesting...
There's also an analysis here.
Get your own by going to Tweepsmap - don't forget to change your settings back once you've finished too...

Analysis of GeoBlogs's Twitter followers

New Zealand0.88%
Hong Kong0.19%
South Korea0.19%
South Africa0.13%
Costa Rica0.06%

Guessing 0.06% is 1 person....

Welcome to Newtok

A place which is at the front line of climate change.
The village is being affected by thawing permafrost, which in turn is creating real problems for the village, and the local coastline....

An excellent Guardian interactive feature 

CPD in Eden...

Not the Garden of Eden... the Eden Project.
For schools that are close to the venue, this sounds like an excellent option for a geography field trip.
A workshop on Rural Rebranding followed by free time at the Eden Project.

Follow the links and you'll find plenty of other courses too, including some for other subjects and age-groups.

Thanks to Jon Wolton for the tipoff...

Image: Alan Parkinson

New Australian Geography Curriculum launched...

We may still be waiting for our new Geography curriculum to be released, but the new Australian geography curriculum has just been released.

ACARA has been working on this for several years, and I've been following the developments.

Here are the AIMS of the new curriculum.

The Foundation - Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Geography aims to ensure that students develop:
  • a sense of wonder, curiosity and respect about places, people, cultures and environments throughout the world
  • a deep geographical knowledge of their own locality, Australia, the Asia region and the world
  • the ability to think geographically, using geographical concepts
  • the capacity to be competent, critical and creative users of geographical inquiry methods and skills
  • as informed, responsible and active citizens who can contribute to the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable, and socially just world.
Go to the site and explore the supporting documentation.
Good to see enquiry at the heart of things.

Check out the SCOPE AND SEQUENCE document too. (Available as a PDF)

Thought for the Day

"Geography is about curiosity, exploration, and discovery. It gives you the power to see places in new ways, search for your own answers, challenge things as they are, and make sense of the world."
Daniel Raven-Ellison

GeoGuessr - some ideas for using it...

A mention for a little variation on a site which I like a little more to be honest, called Mapcrunch.

It's become very popular in lots of places over the last week.

GeoGuessr is a 'game' which takes you to 5 'random' places and challenges you to identify where you are.
A map is provided so that you can add a pin at an appropriate place. This action in itself requires a little geographical knowledge...
There is a score provided for how close you are to the actual location.

There's a chance element involved of course, and there are perhaps more clues available in urban areas than there are in rural areas. These involve signs on buses and other vehicles.
For example, one image I was presented with was the Eden project, so I got within 2 kilometres of the actual location - another looked like Australia but was in fact in S. America so I was several thousand kilometres out...
Since the image is a StreetView image, you can also head off in a direction of your choice to look for clues, or you might decide that is cheating and not allow it...

Remember that Streetview doesn't cover the whole globe either, so if a picture looks like it might be in Africa, then it's probably South Africa or Botswana.
This map shows the current coverage.

This Slate article was closer to my thinking about the use of the site - as students use the site, they should be developing ideas for a guide for how to do well on GeoGuessr. These could be put together using an appropriate package (or a paper and pen)

There could be league tables for how well people do perhaps, or set group challenges. Perhaps a 'GeoGuessr' of the week ?
You could also provide options for support that could be used each game (in the vein of 'Who wants to be a Millionaire')
These could include:

  • A Google Search
  • 1 minute to explore beyond the area shown on the original photo
  • The chance to add an extra 1000 points to the final score if the guess proves to be in the wrong continent...
Any other ideas for 'jokers' ?

There could also be a rubric for assessing the clues that are provided in an image...

e.g. Urban or Rural, Weather conditions, presence of snow, upland landscape or lowland, coastal or inland, presence of a distinguishing feature such as a large building, flags, language / typography / alphabet used in signage, advertising billboards, company names on vehicles or stores
More often than not it's a 'feel' that you get - is it European or not ? is the vegetation tropical in appearance ? 

Any other thoughts for using with pupils ?

Thanks to Roo Stenning for lead to this XKCD cartoon

Update 2 - 21st May

Thanks to @MrGeographer for pointing out LOCATESTREET which shows random streets....
It turns out that it uses some of the suggestions - great minds think alike !
There are points for moving away from the location, and it will also tell you other information, but you pay for them by deducting points from your guess...
Also options for narrowing down the area from which the photos were taken...

A great little site too...


One of the interesting things that happened during the EuroGeo conference (see previous posts) was that I was awarded a medal from the Gilbert M. Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education.

One was presented to all those involved in a project, funded by the Association of American Geographers, which I shall blog more about in the future.

On the back, it says that it is presented 'for meritorious service in support of geographic education'.

Thanks to Dick Boehm, who presented the medals on the first day of the conference. Very proud to be welcomed to the community in that way...

Bruges - Day 3 - Part 2

The EuroGeo conference in 2013 ended with a keynote from Sirpa Tani, of the University of Helsinki.

Learning (in) environments
Linking tradition and future

She shared her work relating to her research, and the experiences which informed her practice.
Dwelling with the City is a project which connects with ideas like Young People's Geographies and Mission:Explore. 

Sirpa's earlier work linked with the work of Liz Taylor, looking at how urban environments were represented, and work on parkour (see the parkour image in 'A Different View'), as well as images of 'hanging out' (see the YPG work of Jonathan Morris). She then focussed on the idea of learning environments with some work on school design, and wider issues. An interesting session.

After the conference, it was back to the cafeteria for a final lunch, and to say bye to various friends and colleagues who were leaving that day.
Then I had a few hours to explore the city in changeable weather - from pouring rain to bright sunshine in a few hours - like being at home.

That evening was a meal for our I-USE group, and also the board of EuroGeo - there was some crossover between the group members.
We went to the Zwart Huis restaurant, which had an excellent atmosphere. Good food and beer. A nice way to end the conference.

101 ways to teach locational knowledge...

Is the eventual aim of this resource, started by Paul Sturtivant...

Head over there and contribute a few ideas - that's how these things work...
Click the red + button and add a slide
If everyone who viewed the thread on SLN had added just one idea there'd be over 101 by now...

33 years and 1 day ago...

I normally remember this anniversary, but forgot yesterday....
Still a suitable case study for volcanic eruptions ?
If not, how would/could you use resources like this.
Perhaps for ecosystems rather than volcanic activity ?

Eurovision 2013

Eurovision at the weekend - the semi-finals have been taking place over the last few days.
I like the map butterflies which have been used this year as the motif.

Tony Cassidy created a classic Eurovision resource which (with a little updating that you could do yourself) would still be a good activity.
Find out the winners from the last few years to add to the mapping exercise.

Here is my favourite... er... song...
I'm really drawn to this... er... song....

An exciting opportunity...

If you have some free time this summer, you could follow in the footsteps of Robert MacFarlane, who has featured in this blog many times...
Visit the Wayfarer website for more details and to enter the competition....

We’re looking for someone who doesn’t mind getting their boots dirty, can string a sentence or two together and can get creative about how they share their journey with the world. You should already know your way around social networks and be able to produce short videos on your own. The winner will become our Wayfarer and will get paid to travel around the UK throughout July and August (so please only enter if you’ll be available all summer). You’ll visit some of the Old Ways paths, but, even better, you’ll strike out on your own and make some new discoveries, on or off the beaten path. You will then report back on your adventures through blog posts, photos, videos and tweets.


A very interesting art installation.

It visualises the world's population and some key events using piles of rice.
Check it out...

New books from the GA coming later in the year...

The new GA Magazine features news of two books which are coming from the GA later in the year.

The first involves me.
I've written a book with the prolific and much-used author John Widdowson on Fieldwork through Enquiry.
We've explored 10 contexts for fieldwork: 5 for Urban, and 5 for Rural.
There are ideas for apps, and plenty of customisable sheets, use of Google Drive etc.

The design is looking great, thanks to Bryan Ledgard as always.

The second book that is mentioned is an updated version of the influential book by Margaret Roberts: 'Learning through Enquiry'.

I spent yesterday afternoon at a seminar at the Institute of Education in London where Margaret was speaking. I'll be blogging my thoughts in the near future...

I'm really looking forward to seeing and using this book...

GeoResource website

Check out the GeoResource website - new to me... Some content particularly for Scottish colleagues preparing to teach National 5 Geography, but plenty of animations and other content for other colleagues.

Free Digimap for Schools Webinar

Coming up in June is a chance to take part in a free webinar which will tell you about the OS Digimap for Schools service.
Remember that there is a full set of resources ready for those using the service, which I wrote at the end of last year.

Details below from the Digimap Blog

This will be the first of many that we aim to run.  The purpose of the webinar is mainly for schools already subscribed looking for hints and tips on how to use Digimap for Schools.  However the webinar is open to anyone interested in hearing more and seeing a demonstration of the service.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions either by text chat or by talking if you have a microphone.

Sign up HERE

Jamie Buchanan Dunlop WOW talk...

Well worth spending 7 minutes listening to and watching.... nice work from Jamie...

GA Summer journals...

The Summer 2013 issues of the GA's journals are now appearing on the website, and the print edition just appeared in my letter box.

Just been browsing the latest GA magazine, which has some excellent articles, and a conference report. A good Webwatch feature too, along with a mention of Mission:Explore Summer Camp, and the forthcoming book that I wrote with John Widdowson.
(See forthcoming blog posts for more on those projects)

Also a reminder that my Webwatch feature for the Autumn 2013 issue will need to be completed soon... Better get cracking on that...

Bruges - Day 3 - Part 1

The 3rd day of EUROGEO started with the 5th session, which meant that we were involved.

It was a damp day in Bruges, and we wandered over wet cobbles as the town came to life again, and generally got damp on the way. There was an introductory session for the I-USE project, which I am involved with, on behalf of the Geographical Association.

Karsten Duus led the session on our behalf, with input from all the partners.

The website http://www.i-use.eu  has been launched now, and although there is not a large amount of information at present - the site will grow through the life of the project.

We talked through the introduction to the project, the development of the website, and our plans over the life of the project.

There was an existing website, called WORLDSTAT which started it all off...
The project develops that forward, with a range of tools and other elements, some of which I shall be writing.

One of the people who came to the presentation was involved in the Dutch EduGIS website. This is well worth a look too.

We have a new FACEBOOK group, which you are welcome to join.
There's also a TWITTER feed to follow.
& finally I have an I USE STATS in EDUCATION BLOG (of course)

Rotherham: Portas, shops, promotion and Digimap for Schools...

Rotherham is my home town, although it's a few years since I've been back.... the last time I nearly got stuck in the snow...
It has undergone quite a lot of changes over the last few decades. It was visited by Jamie Oliver, in 2008 who tried to improve the diet in the town and famously led to mums passing food through the school fence in Rawmarsh.

The BBC revisited 4 years on in this article

Mary Portas carried out a review of High Streets, which I mentioned in the resources I created, and as a result of this Rotherham now has a new grant to try to improve the nature of the shops that are found in the town centre. It has been awarded several hundred thousand pounds to encourage new shops to the town.

Last year, I produced a resource for Digimap for the Schools which focussed on Rotherham and shopping as part of a larger set of resources for the digital OS map streaming serviced. Download the resource and 'visit Rotherham' using maps and Google Earth.

I was grateful to RIDO for letting me have access to a range of documents relating to the plans to redevelop the town centre. One major change has been the relocation of quite a few major buildings such as the town's library to the opposite end of town than it used to be.

There is also now a new football stadium which has been completed - and coincidentally the football team were promoted this year too. You can try out an activity where you choose a possible new site for the football team (which was written before the new stadium was built) on the GA website.

Writing this has triggered an urge to go back and visit as soon as I can. I'm up in the area later in the year for some work at the GA, so I'll pop into Rotherham and let you know how I get on and put some pictures here...

The picture at the top of the post is of the Cross Keys, where I used to have the odd pint and chip butty. It was taken in the 1960's.... I'm not quite old enough to have been drinking it quite that far back...

The man who fell to Earth....

Many people, including me, have been following Chris Hadfield's stint on the ISS thanks to Twitter, and the amazing photos that he has been sharing. I've blogged about them previously.

He's now safely back on earth... but had time before he left to make this great video...
Thanks for all the tweets and images Chris !

Bruges - Day 2

After a good night's sleep, opened the windows onto damp cobbles, and the town coming to life.
Down to breakfast, with a view over the canals and bridges of the town - the hotel was in the centre of the city of Bruges so it was good to see the deliveries, street cleaning etc, the carriage owners preparing their carriages and horses for a day trotting around the city.

Walked through the Markt square where they were dismantling the grandstands for the previous day's Holy Blood procession, and out to the school where the conference was taking place.

Registered for the conference and had coffee, then spent the morning working on a few projects and writing, as well as having conversations with delegates from all over Europe and beyond.

Joseph Kerski from ESRI were there, and had a chat with him, following a chat we'd had the previous week.
Also went up to the iGUESS course that was taking place, which had some UK participants, including James M and Duncan H.

Spent some time talking to a Russian geo-chemist from Moscow, then had a nice lunch in the school refectory.

The afternoon was spent in a 4 hour workshop which had funded my participation in the conference. It was a discussion with various colleagues from countries on a project called GeoCapabilities.
It was chaired by Michael Solem from the AAG, along with David Lambert from the IoE and Sirpa Tani from the University of Helsinki.

I'll put up a separate post in a few days about the idea.

The meeting ended quite late, so it was a quick yomp across town. In the evening, it was over to the Halve Maan brewery of Henri Maes (several generations of the family...)
The evening started with some Zot (a light beer), before a tour around the brewery.
Later, it was back to the restaurant on the top floor (formerly used for malting barley) for a meal and more Zot.

Into a nearby bar for Malheur, and chat with colleagues from around Europe.

Village at the End of the World

Interested to read about a film called 'Village at the End of the World', set in Greenland. Sounds like an interesting film.
If follows the lives of some of the residents of a remote village in Greenland.
It shows how social media connects young people with other places, and avoids some of the cliches of other films that have been filmed in the region.

There are suggestions that the film may spark a mini tourist boom to Greenland.
You can fly there from Keflavik airport in Iceland, I noticed when I was last there...
Check out a showing if there is one near you....

Images of Bruges

A growing Flickr set of images from my visit to Bruges for the EuroGeo conference, and the meeting of the I-USE project.

Feel free to browse to get a flavour of the city....

To find out more about the I-USE project, on the theme of statistical literacy.
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